2020 Best Doctor of Business Administration Degrees

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What Are the Goals of a DBA Program?

The doctor of business administration (DBA) equips students to effectively oversee administrative staff and to help determine best practices. Individuals who enjoy delegating, problem-solving, and organizing often thrive with a DBA.

It typically takes students 3-6 years to earn a DBA. However, the exact number varies based on program requirements, pace, and other commitments. Usually, DBA students gain on-the-job experience before or during their studies. Learners who wish to complete their degree quickly can enroll in an accelerated course and work part time rather than full time.

FAQ

How long does it take to earn a DBA?

It typically takes 3-6 years to complete a DBA. The exact time varies based on the number of credits required and complexity of the dissertation project.

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a DBA?

Typically, Ph.D. programs focus more on research, while DBA programs focus on practical application.

Is someone with a DBA a doctor?

Yes. Since a DBA is a doctoral degree, professionals who hold a DBA may use “doctor” as their title.

Top 10 Best Doctor of Business Administration Degrees in 2020

Rank School Location
1 DePaul University Chicago, IL
2 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
3 Florida International University Miami, FL
4 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
5 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
6 Golden Gate University-San Francisco San Francisco, CA
7 International Technological University San Jose, CA
8 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
9 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
10 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL

Accreditation for DBA Programs

When considering a DBA program, prospective students should take accreditation into account. The U.S. Department of Education oversees third-party accrediting agencies and grants them permission to offer either regional or national accreditation. Employers and educational institutions generally view degrees from schools with regional accreditation as reputable.

College and university programs can also earn programmatic accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business awards accreditation to high-quality DBA programs. Prospective students should avoid DBA programs without regional accreditation.

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2020 Best Doctor of Business Administration Degrees

It takes time to find the best doctor of business administration degree for you. To help you in your search, we regularly update this list of the best DBA programs.

Doctorate programs are listed alphabetically.

  • DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    DePaul University served 70 students during its first year of operation in 1898. Today, almost 23,000 students from 114 countries and all 50 states enroll at the university. DePaul comprises 10 schools and colleges and offers more than 300 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at DePaul's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. The program requires 72 quarter credits (48 semester credits) and uses a cohort model. Students enroll in seven research-focused classes and seven business-focused courses to develop their applied research skills and build their business acumen. The curriculum includes coursework in leading organizational development and change, business ethics and social responsibility, and behavioral decision theory.

    The program does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. However, prospective students must hold an MBA or a master's from an accredited institution.

    DePaul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida Tech started out in 1958 as the Brevard Engineering College. The college currently consists of five colleges and enrolls more than 6,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree from Florida Tech's Nathan M. Bisk College of Business. The program takes three years to complete. The 42-credit curriculum includes coursework in innovation and entrepreneurship; advanced study of human resources in modern business enterprises; and organizational behavior, ethics, and leadership in business management.

    All students must pass a comprehensive exam at the end of the second fall semester before they begin dissertation work. Applicants must hold an MBA or a master's in a related field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. The program accepts cohorts of 12 students at a time.

    Florida Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    FIU serves approximately 58,000 students through over 200 programs. Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at FIU. The program requires 72 credits and takes three years to complete. The curriculum includes courses in the philosophy and process of applied business research, financial issues in the global environment, marketing and behavioral theory, and analysis of corporate policy. Applicants must hold an MBA or a master's degree from an accredited institution and have at least 10 years of work experience, preferably at the managerial level.

    FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. FIU's Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Graduate School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Gardner-Webb University
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Gardner-Webb serves close to 3,600 students and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across six schools and colleges.

    The university's doctor of business administration program requires 60 credits: 24 credits each of foundational and concentration coursework and 12 dissertation credits. Students choose from concentrations in accounting, finance, international business, management, and marketing. The curriculum includes courses in advanced applied business statistics, foundations for ethical reasoning, management strategy and planning, and concentration-specific best practices in teaching and consulting.

    Gardner-Webb is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Gardner-Webb's Godbold School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  • Georgia State University
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1913, Georgia State is now the Peach State's largest institution of higher education. The university serves over 53,000 students through more than 250 programs.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The program uses a cohort model of education and takes three years to complete. Designed for senior-level executives, the program accepts students with a relevant master's degree from an accredited institution and at least 10 years of professional experience.

    The curriculum includes coursework in the philosophy and practice of engaged scholarship, global economic systems and issues, evidence-based management, and emerging markets and global models for business. Students complete coursework through 24 Thursday-Saturday on-campus residencies.

    Georgia State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Golden Gate University-San Francisco
    Location

    San Francisco, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    GGU traces its roots back to a San Francisco YMCA night school that began in 1881. After the establishment of a law school in 1901, the night school officially became a college and finally a university in 1972. GGU currently serves over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

    GGU's doctor of business administration degree requires 60 credits: 12 credits of foundational coursework, 28 credits in core business subjects, 12 credits of dissertation research, and eight credits of electives. After completing foundational coursework, students must take and pass a qualifying exam before proceeding with the program. Core courses include economic theory and policy, operations and technology systems, strategy and international business, and corporate finance. Program applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    GGU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  • International Technological University
    Location

    San Jose, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1994, ITU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across six academic disciplines. ITU's doctor of business administration degree takes three years to complete. The 48-credit program offers three culminating experience options: a dissertation, an applied innovation project, or a series of publishable papers. The curriculum includes coursework in behavioral marketing, digitization, and decision-making; financial engineering and innovation; data analytics; and strategy for disruptive innovation.

    All students must take an inbound examination during their first trimester in the program. Learners who do not achieve a passing mark (50%) must submit GMAT or GRE scores within three terms.

    ITU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. ITU's business programs earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  • Jacksonville University
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Chartered in 1934, JU comprises four colleges and three specialized institutes in marine science research, healthcare, and public policy. Approximately 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students currently attend JU.

    JU offers a 63-credit doctor of business administration degree that takes three years to complete. Required coursework covers business analytics and technological tools; global business in the transnational marketplace; contemporary ethics and negotiations; and corporate mergers, acquisitions, and valuations. Students must pass a comprehensive exam after completing all coursework requirements before beginning dissertation research.

    Applicants do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. However, prospective students without an MBA or a master's degree may include test scores to bolster their application. The program accepts a new cohort starting each fall semester.

    JU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's Davis College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In 1894, Louisiana Tech opened its doors as the Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana. Today, the university serves close to 12,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across five academic colleges.

    Louisiana Tech offers a doctor of business administration program that requires 78 quarter credits (52 semester credits). Students can choose from five concentrations: accounting, computer information systems, finance, management, and marketing. The program uses a cohort model, with each cohort consisting of only 3-4 students. All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

    Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1964, NSU now serves approximately 20,000 learners through 18 schools and colleges. Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree through NSU's H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. The program's curriculum requires 60 credits, including an 18-credit dissertation. One of the best doctor of business administration programs, the degree offers eight specializations, including human resource management, health services, international management, and information systems.

    In each specialization, required courses include computer-mediated research methods, business and public policy, and information and decision sciences. Most students complete coursework requirements within three years, after which they plan their dissertation with their advisor.

    NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Sacred Heart University
    Location

    Fairfield, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1963 by the bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, SHU has grown to become the second-largest Catholic university in New England. The university now serves close to 9,000 students.

    SHU offers a doctor of business administration degree through the Welch College of Business and Technology. Although delivered on campus, the program maintains a low residency requirement that allows students to earn the degree without taking time off from work. The program takes three years to complete. Required courses include advanced statistics and mathematical modeling, global financial markets and institutions, econometric methods, and corporate finance.

    All students must pass a comprehensive exam during the summer between their second and third year. The program accepts learners as part of a cohort.

    SHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The Welch College of Business and Technology is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Saint Leo University
    Location

    Saint Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1889, Saint Leo University is Florida's oldest Catholic college. The university serves over 2,200 students and offers more than 50 programs at the certificate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

    Saint Leo offers a doctor of business administration degree that requires 57 credits. Students begin each year of the program by attending a five-day seminar on campus followed by a year of module-based instruction. Each module lasts eight weeks, and students take one module at a time. Most students complete their coursework requirements in two years and their dissertation in another year or two.

    Applicants must hold a master's degree with a GPA of at least 3.25 from an accredited institution. Saint Leo does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission.

    Saint Leo is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits Saint Leo's School of Business.

  • Temple University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Temple started out in 1884 as a night school for working students. Today, the university consists of 17 academic schools and colleges and serves approximately 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

    Temple offers a doctor of business administration program through its Fox School of Business. During their first two years, students attend six onsite weekend residencies per year. Online coursework supplements the program's residencies. Students enroll in classes in integrative perspectives on business knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship in the new economy, navigating the global marketplace, and understanding the firm through management and organizational theory.

    Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university. Although not required, applicants can submit their GMAT or GRE scores with their application.

    Temple is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  • Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1876, Texas A&M is the Lone Star State's oldest public university. More than 69,000 students currently take courses at the university, which offers over 400 programs.

    The university's Mays Business School offers a doctor of business administration degree with two tracks: strategic management and organizational behavior/human resource management. The program considers applicants with either a bachelor's or a master's degree. Applicants with a bachelor's degree must complete 96 credits to earn the degree, while applicants with a master's degree need 64 credits. The program requires applicants to submit their most recent GMAT or GRE scores.

    Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Mays Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1853, UF now consists of 16 schools and colleges and serves more than 55,000 students. UF offers a business administration Ph.D. and a 60-credit doctor of business administration degree that typically takes three years to complete. The program's required coursework covers corporate finance, change leadership, organizational research methods, and strategic management. Instead of a comprehensive exam, students must meet research standards. Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university and have at least 10 years of managerial experience.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Warrington College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • University of Missouri-St Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In 1963, the University of Missouri took over the grounds and resources of the Normandy Residence Center, a small community college under the Normandy School District. It soon grew to become the University of Missouri St. Louis, which now serves over 16,000 students through 10 schools and colleges.

    UMSL offers a doctor of business administration degree that uses a cohort model. Students meet with professors one weekend a month, usually taking only three trips to campus per semester. The remainder of course requirements, instruction, discussions, and collaborations take place online. The program comprises 60 credits and takes three years to complete. Required courses include supply chain management, contemporary market intelligence and decision-making, finance theory and applications, and strategic business analysis.

    UMSL is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university's College of Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    Location

    Charlotte, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UNC Charlotte began in 1946, opening its doors to 278 students. It achieved university status in the 1960s and now serves nearly 30,000 students.

    UNC Charlotte offers a doctor of business administration program that takes three years to complete. The program requires 54 credits in three areas: research methodology (21 credits), applied research (15 credits), and dissertation (18 credits). The curriculum includes courses in advanced business theory, experimental design and measurement, organizational theories and systems, and business statistics and data analysis.

    The program uses a cohort model and consists of 10 on-campus residencies per year. Each residency period takes place over a three-day weekend.

    UNC Charlotte is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's Belk College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Since its founding in 1956, USF has grown to occupy almost 2,000 acres in Tampa. The university serves approximately 44,000 students and offers over 200 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral levels.

    USF's Muma College of Business offers a doctor of business administration degree. The program takes three years to complete. The program's 72-credit curriculum includes courses in qualitative research methods in business; strategic business analysis; ethics, law, and sustainable business practices; and creativity and innovation. As a capstone, students can complete a dissertation or submit a portfolio demonstrating their ability to apply scholarly research to real-world challenges. The program accepts new cohorts every January.

    USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Muma College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Washington University in St Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Washington University began as an evening school in 1853, providing educational opportunities for young immigrants. Today, the university enrolls nearly 16,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries and comprises eight schools and colleges.

    Washington University offers two doctor of business administration degrees: a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in business or a doctor in business administration (DBA). The Ph.D. prepares graduates for careers in academia or research-oriented organizations. Professionals who plan to pursue or continue with careers in the corporate world typically pursue the DBA, which focuses more on applied research.

    The DBA curriculum includes courses in applied research in finance, marketing, and operations and manufacturing management. The Ph.D. program offers seven concentrations, including accounting, business economics, and strategy and entrepreneurship.

    Washington University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university's Olin Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Wilmington University
    Location

    New Castle, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    WilmU opened in 1968 to a student body of 194. Today, the university serves a student population of more than 20,000, comprises seven colleges, and offers programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

    WilmU's doctor of business administration degree requires 54 credits. Students complete 21 credits of core courses, 24 credits of business coursework, and nine dissertation or research project credits. Students typically complete all coursework requirements (except for the dissertation or research project) within 2.5 years. Students must pass a comprehensive exam prior to beginning work on their dissertation or project. The program accepts three new cohorts each year.

    WilmU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The university's DBA program holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Career and Salary Outlook for DBA Graduates

A DBA prepares learners to succeed in management roles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in management occupations to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028. Management positions enjoy a median annual wage of $105,660.

Salary also varies based on geographical factors such as cost of living. Industry and years of experience also influence pay. An entry-level professional working for a nonprofit likely earns less than an experienced professional working for a large corporation.

A DBA serves professionals on a variety of career paths. Graduates commonly hold positions as administrative services managers, with a median pay of $96,940 per year, or as compensation and benefits managers, with a median pay of $122,270 per year.

Courses in DBA Programs

Most students take 6-9 credits per semester, and programs require 54-60 credits. During coursework, learners think critically about administrative best practices with their instructors and peers. Many DBA programs also require a dissertation or capstone project that involves research.

The following list contains five courses that DBA programs commonly offer. Keep in mind that these courses vary by institution. Make sure to read a prospective program’s course descriptions before enrolling.

Employee Engagement

Ideal business administrators know how to attract and retain talented employees. Through this course, students learn about the importance of employee training opportunities and benefits. This course also covers the theories that guide employee engagement as well as ways to prevent turnover and burnout.

Designing Applied Research

This course focuses on the construction of research projects. Learners explore research methodology, constraints, and compromises. Further, students gain practical insight by reviewing and evaluating research profiles.

Effective Leadership

An effective leadership course teaches learners how to oversee an entire department. Students also learn how to engage in interpersonal communication for leadership purposes. This course covers common leadership theories and outlines practical applications. An effective leadership course also points to areas in the leadership field that lack adequate research.

Emerging Business Administration Technologies

Ideal business administration leaders stay informed about rapidly changing workflow technology. This course teaches learners about common employee efficiency software. Students evaluate database software and determine the best applications for each.

Dissertation

Doctoral students typically take three dissertation-related courses. During the first dissertation course, learners determine the focus of their dissertation. In the following semesters, students continue to make progress and receive periodic evaluations from professors. Once an individual finishes their dissertation, they may submit it to academic publishers for consideration.

Scholarships for DBA Students

If an ideal program seems financially impractical, consider applying for scholarships. To save time, prospective students can focus on scholarships that pertain directly to business administration, since general scholarships may attract more competitors. Check out this list of scholarships for DBA students.

American Association of University Women Fellowships

Who Can Apply: The American Association of University Women (AAUW) provides fellowships and grants to female doctoral students. AAUW allocates funds specifically for doctoral students studying in male-dominated fields like business.
Amount: Varies

Jacki Tuckfield Memorial Graduate Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: African American students pursuing a DBA from an accredited university in Florida may apply for this scholarship. Recipients need at least a 3.2 GPA and must plan to remain in Florida upon graduation.
Amount: $1,100

Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) Grant

Who Can Apply: KPMG provides grants to minority doctoral students studying business. Ideal applicants plan on pursuing a teaching role upon graduation. However, individuals with varying career goals may apply.
Amount: Varies

Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a doctorate in a business-related field from an accredited university may apply. Applicants must submit two recommendation letters from professors assisting with their dissertation.
Amount: $10,000

Learn More…

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